Sharpen your focus on customers you haven’t concentrated on before. In the decorative art market, when real estate is booming and developers are trying to keep up with the demand for new homes, design firms specializing in model homes are a great potential market. Accessory buyers for furniture stores and many galleries are looking for art to meet the demand of new homeowners. About eighty-five percent of the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sales I made each year were to interior designers and architects, a huge market many artists overlook, and about 15% to galleries and frame shops.
When the real estate market contracts or is near collapse, as it is today in many parts of the country, artists should ask themselves, “Who’s still buying?” Having lived through a number of downturns in the art market as an art rep with a family to support, watching some galleries and design firms that had been good customers close their doors, one truth helped me refocus my efforts: People with money, always have money.That meant redoubling my efforts to search out and contact “high-end” and specialized designers with clients who continued to buy and decorate homes and businesses. They make up just a segment of the overall design field. To reach them I had to work harder, travel farther and tailor what I carried to more affluent customers and specialized tastes.